Trump Is A Sideshow Distraction, The Kochs And Their Ilk Are The Real Danger To Our Democracy

koch-placeholder-promo

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/kochs-want-to-kill-this-senate-rule-heres-why/ar-BBDKsge?li=BBnb7Kz

I’ve been saying this for months now. The Republicans already control Congress, the White House, SCOTUS, and have gained virtual control of the election process nationally and in most states.

Now their bosses, the Koch Brothers and others like them, having targeted the federal judiciary system. If they are successful, the Democrats will never, ever win back anything again and no “liberal” laws will ever be enacted. Those in effect now that the Kochs oppose will be struck down in the lower courts or be declared unconstitutional by the Koch employees on SCOTUS.

Stop focusing exclusively on the idiocy of Trump. It’s now clear he was intentionally put into office not only to do their bidding but mainly as a sideshow distraction.

The Kochs and their ilk have been pursuing this complete takeover for the past 45 years. They’ve been unwittingly aided and abetted by the neoliberals who seized control of the Democratic Party: the Carters, the Clintons, the Obamas, the Nacy Pelosis, the Debbie Wasserman Schulltzes, the Chuck Shumers, the Harry Reids, the Heidi Heitcamps, the John Warners, the Joe Manchins, the Jon Testers, the Chris Dodds, the Barney Franks, the congressional Black Caucus who backed Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, etc.are all responsible for this. All the center of right gutless wonders who converted the Democratic Party into the Republican Lite Party.

We’re now paying for the fixation on building their own financial success as they pursued business-friendly legislation and warmongering at the expense of working to help make this country and the lives of the people who voted them into office better. If the Republicans are successful in further marginalizing and castrating the Democratic Party into total governmental impotence, then it will be our children and the ensuing generations to come who will continue to pay the price as well. I place full blame for the current state of this country, not on the Republicans but on the Democratic Party who enabled this to happen.

 

Obama WAS The Special Interests President

Barack-Obama-After-Presidency-Pictures

 

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/in-chicago-obama-tells-young-leaders-that-%E2%80%98special-interests-dominate-the-debates-in-washington%E2%80%99/ar-BBAha7Y?li=BBnb7Kz

 

The story headline “In Chicago, Obama tells young leaders that ‘special interests dominate the debates in Washington’” is is total crap. From day one Obama was all about pleasing special interests by funneling unrestricted bailout funds to Goldman Sachs and the investment/banking industries in general. Yes, TARP was a Bush initiative but Obama and his special interest lackeys, Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner, made it like they were proprietors overseeing kids in a candy store, even giving out handfuls of candy, aka taxpayer funds, to kids like every day was Halloween night. The banksters knowingly and intentionally committed global financial fraud and not one CEO paid the legal price. We all paid for the bailout and not ONE institution was required to change how they do business to prevent it from happening again. Dodd-Frank? Please…

They’re still selling the same derivatives (under new names) and other unsafe “investment products” that are again propelling the financial industry to another meltdown. The housing bubble is building again (checked out home prices lately?) and once again it WILL burst.

Remember Obama’s pushing through of all those trade pacts? We’re now just learning of some of the secret offshore accounts owned by American citizens and corporations housed in Panama banks. Remember how he also tried to push the TPP and the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline? How about his months-long silence and hands off policy with the Dakota Access pipeline?  Additional construction of nuclear plants? Pushing charter schools to the detriment of public schools? The Obama presidency was all about special interests, except for the middle and low income classes. I guess we didn’t hold much special interest for him.

Obama didn’t do a damn thing to unify anyone. If he had, we’d have a Democrat in the White House, a Democratically-controlled Congress, and Merrick Garland, as flawed as he was, would be the 9th Justice sitting on the SCOTUS bench.

The Obama administration will not go down in history for what it was but for its failure to become what it could have been. If his “aspiration” was to unify Blue and Red states, why did he do so much to polarize all of us?

It’s A Third World (Country) After All

money-bags-500x390

Today the United States of America officially downgraded itself to the status of a third world country. In my opinion, we have white male billionaire (and lowly multimillionaire) crooks and thugs in total charge of the government. And just like many third world country governments I think these men will rob us blind to enrich themselves and fill their own offshore, tax-free coffers. I think cutting federal spending by $10 trillion over the next ten years by dismantling or diminishing almost every program and agency that benefits the low income and outright poor, the sick, the environment, arts and culture, food, product, and workplace safety, When Janet Yellen’s term as Fed Reserve chair has expired Donald Trump will replace her with yet another white male billionaire. He will control the entire economic system of our country from top to bottom, enabling him and his cronies to hide the robbery of public funds from the Treasury.

As I’ve written before, we don’t recover from this. Now that certain elements within the GOP have perfected how to steal a national election, they’ll never lose another one. If somehow they are defeated in a future election, the social, economic and social damage began by Trump and continued by subsequent Republican administrations will be so great there will be no fixing it. there will be no reversing it any time soon after that, I put the timeline at about maybe 20 years or so. By that time, thanks to all the environmental protection dismantling by Trump, life on earth may be about over anyway thanks to the increase in the earth’s temperature. But I guess all you Trump voters will be happy as a clam, pleased as pumpkins, especially if the Republicans are still in power. Better Red (under a Republican government) AND dead than Blue (under a Democratic government) and alive.

Why Black Voters Should Be Supporting Bernie Sanders

A criticism of Bernie Sanders from several black groups is that he has not really talked about racism or otherwise addressing black issues, something they say Hillary Clinton has done.

OK, here’s my response. I’ve listened to Bernie talk for years and I’m currently reading his autobiography. He talks about why this country is so racist, coming to the same conclusion I arrived at independently. Basically, we’re all being played. Poor white sharecroppers and laborers were being played by wealthy Southern landowners, bankers and politicians and we’re being played by the ruling power elite of today. Being played how? By polarizing us into different groups who look across the room or the country with hate at each other. When life is hard and you’re struggling just to survive, many people need someone to blame for their hardships and struggle, a scapegoat. They also need to feel superior to the object of their hate. So, poor whites hate blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, etc., anyone they feel superior to and fear is in danger of taking a piece of the small pie they’re grasping onto.

Blacks and Hispanics hate each other in many communities. Many groups join together and hate gay people. So, we’re all looking across and hating each other instead of stopping to look up and see who are the ones who have pitted us against each other. We’re all rats in an overcrowded maze with no way out and the food and water grow less and less.

Why are we kept pitted against each other like this? Because of all us stopped to think and reason, we’d realize who actually is responsible for all of this. We’d unite and as one huge powerful group rise up and overthrow the power elite, which would be the first step in healing all the rifts between us.

So, this is why Bernie doesn’t concentrate on black issues, or Hispanic issues or any issues which just serve to polarize one group from another. All our issue stem from the same common problems: inequality of wealth and income, lack of a job, working at of a job which pays a living wage and offers benefits, lack of adequate income, lack of adequate housing, lack of affordable college education, etc. If you focus on the basic problems we all face and fix those, racism becomes less of an issue because if just about everybody has theirs, there’s no reason to hate the those who have more than you or for you to try to feel superior to those who have less and you feel are trying to take more of yours.

So, let Hillary talk about black issues. Let her continue to perpetuate the hatred and polarization among the races. Bernie is talking about changing the fundamental issues and institutional inequalities which separate us all so that we can finally unite under the common goal of equality—in every sense of the word—and justice for all. Bernie Sanders for president for ALL of us.

Selling The Social Security Retirement Scam

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/retirement/how-millions-of-americans-are-flubbing-retirement/ar-AAeJrMV

This article is a primary reason why you don’t read MSN Money for actual money advice. It just serves to perpetuate the cover-up of the greatest ongoing theft in US history: the raid on the Old Age, Survivor And Disability Insurance trust fund. It’s just more of selling the scam.

“It’s widely regarded as the best deal in retirement. Researchers can’t figure out why more Americans aren’t taking it. The deal, of course, is putting off Social Security benefits, which can boost your monthly paycheck by more than three-fourths if you delay until the maximum age of 70.”

What you’ve just read is total bullshit. Is the article writer, Ian Salisbury, by chance a Republican? The best deal in retirement was when full Social Security retirement benefits were payable at age 65. Then came Ronald Reagan who, along with both chambers of Congress and Alan (Mr. Andrea Mitchell) Greenspan, started the mass raid on the OASDI trust fund with the signing into law of the Social Security Amendments of 1983. And the theft just keeps on growing.

Unless Salisbury is a Millennial he and “researchers” should know damn well that most of us in our 60s can’t wait until we’re 70 to draw our SS retirement checks. And we shouldn’t have to. We’re not the ones who, like a federal Dracula, have been feasting on the blood of the Social Security trust fund for 32 years. But this article wants us to be good little Social Security benefits blood donors and wait until we’re all 70 years old to start making our withdrawals from the SS blood bank.

First, with this lousy economy that every Congress and every president since Bill Clinton has saddled us with, I don’t have any savings to tide me over for the next seven years and there are millions of baby boomers riding in my same financial boat.

Secondly, how do any of us know we’ll make it 70? I’m pretty confident about reaching 65, just about as confident of hitting 66 which was at one time where the age for full benefits was pushed back to. But 70? If I am still alive by then what is my life expectancy beyond that? You can bet that the Social Security Administration already has those actuarial tables on file and are updating them as needed.

I got a much better idea for a better deal in retirement—MY retirement. Close down the pension system for all members of Congress and the president, remove the $118,500 cap for OASDI payroll deductions, and then mandate it that all members of Congress and each president must have enough quarters of earnings paid into the system to draw their retirement benefits when they reach 70. But in this case, I’ll be generous: I’ll allow Congress to lower the age for full benefits back down to 65.

That change alone will pay enough into the fund to keep Social Security solvent for, well, forever. Or at least until all life on earth dies out from global warming or the sun supernovas in 5 billion years and takes the Solar System with it.

But until either of those events happen, I can wait two years to reap the rewards of the best deal in retirement.

The Night Right Wing Talk Radio Was Actually Right

Could George Noory of Coast To Coast AM be a closet liberal? Could all the Obama birther nonsense, aliens and ghosts and Bigfoot walking among us all be ratings-building hype? After last night, I don’t know.
He had David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who specializes in economic and tax issues, on his show. The guy made a lot of sense but what made my ears perk up was an exchange with a female caller who called in about Neal Boortz’s elitist-masquerading-as-populist, so-called “FairTax” idea. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FairTax
She smugly talked over Johnston as she stated the tax (without mentioning Boortz’s name) had been endorsed by top economists and it would require everyone from the rich on down to pay their fair share, and that it would then motivate all the companies with offshore accounts and investments to bring it all back home and all our economic woes would be gone. After she was done, Johnston coolly and methodically debunked every assertion of hers point by point, even taking a swipe at the flat tax. He explained in terms that even she could understand that if a rich person as a $10 million annual income that person will not spend that entire $10 million on purchases subject to the FairTax but poorer people WILL spend the majority of their disposable income on taxable purchases because they have to. And besides, for the wealthy, there are many ways to buy things under the table without receipt or computer records.
A male caller claimed that only Eric Holder has let the banksters off the hook and made some other claims.( It is true that Holder wrote what became the “too big to fail” policy in a memo while working in the Clinton Department of Justice.) This is where Johnston blew me away. He responded that every point the caller had made was wrong; every single statement the caller had made was not true. He elaborated that Reagan and the Bushies–daddy and son– had in essence followed the doctrine that to take any actual and meaningful action against banks for their fraudulent actions would make the market “nervous” and hurt the economy. But the moment that won my heart is when he said that people believe these lies because they hear them all the time on right wing talk radio shows. Noory stayed silent after that remark.
But Johnston is an equal opportunity investigate reporter and he also spoke truth to power on the Democratic side as well, sticking a pin in the myth of Bill Clinton as a great liberal president (my description) to let the air out of it. (In fact, in 1996, Clinton and Newt Gingrich had agreed to a tax pact cutting both Social Security and Medicare, and were forming a permanent partnership until Monica Lewinsky came between them. http://www.amazon.com/The-Pact-Clinton-Gingrich-Generation/dp/0195322789)
Under Clinton, the poor and near-poor were more frequently audited by the IRS than were corporations and the wealthy. Why? Because Newt Gingrich hated the Earned Income Tax Credit and part of the budget compromise in 1996 was that those claiming that credit would have to provide proof they were eligible, and kids’ most recent report cards weren’t enough. Johnston stated that, contrary to Gingrich’s assertions, the only persons incorrectly receiving the credit were divorced parents where the ineligible parent had stolen the credit away from the eligible parent by filing their tax return first and claiming it.
But, most importantly, Johnston further confirms what economics experts and pundits like Paul Krugman (“End This Depression Now!”) and Noam Scheiber (“The Escape Artists” How Obama’s Team Fumbled The Recovery”) have said for the past few years: the rise of income inequality and the fall of the average American wage earner’s income, the slide toward this government from being a democracy to an oligarchy has been a bipartisan affair, wending its way from the Reagan administration through every administration—Democratic and Republican—up to the present day.

Sometimes Democrats and Republicans ARE The Same

Reading Paul Krugman’s “End This Depression Now!” He makes it quite clear that the whole income inequality and the 2008 financial meltdown was a bipartisan accomplishment. To keep this short, I’ll give a timeline mentioning just the players and the legislation responsible and you can Google them for more information.

1980: Congress passes and Carter signs into law the Monetary Control Act of 1980 which deregulated and opened up many more kinds of deposits that banks could now pay interest on.

1982: Congress passes and Reagan signs into law the Garn–St Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982 which relaxed restrictions on the kinds of loans banks could make.

1998: Citicorp merges with Travelers Group to attain both Smith Barney and Shearson Lehman and form Citigroup. The problem was that at that time Glass-Steagall prevented commercial banks from engaging in either insurance or investment banking. Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill pays a visit to and makes sure large contributions are paid to Texas Senator Phil Gramm. The result:

1999: Congress passes and Clinton signs into law the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which retroactively authorizes the Citi-Travelers merger. Oh, the key White House figure supporting the bill? Clinton’s Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Gramm left the Senate and joined the board of directors of UBS. Rubin was a former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs and after leaving the Clinton White House became vice chairman of…Citigroup.

Also in 1998: Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers testifies before Congress that regulating derivatives would be a bad idea and so the issue is tabled. He later endorses the the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. (In 2009, Summers admits he was wrong about everything. Better late than never? Tell that to all the people worldwide who lost homes, jobs, savings, retirement accounts, lives–everything–before Summers in essence said “Oops.”)

My contributions outside of the book:

2001: Along with the British, Dubya starts a war in Afghanistan. The costs for the war is kept off the federal budget.

2001: Congress passes and Dubya signs into law the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.

2003: Dubya invades Iraq. The costs for the war are kept off the federal budget.

2003: Congress passes and Dubya signs into law Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003.

2009: Congress passes and Obama signs into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It authorizes a stimulus payment of what grew to be $831 billion. Economic adviser Christina Romer insisted that the minimum stimulus needed to jump start the economy was $1.8 billion, and she was later proven right although she was gone from the White House by that time. Who overruled her, insisting on the lower stimulus package? Our old friend (and Bill Clinton’s), Larry Summers, along with Peter R. Orszag, yet another ex-Clinton economic adviser who headed the CBO under Obama. After leaving the Obama administration, Orszag took a job with…Citigroup.

So, as Krugman and I have shown, what led to the 2008 meltdown and which continues the basis and continued extension of income inequality (through all the deregulation because yes indeed, as the rich get richer the poor get poorer) has been a bipartisan affair. It is very true: when it comes to the economy, there is no difference between the two parties.